Says it will consider Gorkhas’ plea for homeland

Left red-faced at not having included Gorkhas’ demand in its manifesto, the BJP on Tuesday issued an addendum, saying the party would examine and appropriately consider their long-pending plea for a separate homeland.

On Monday, there was a flutter in the party’s northeast unit when it came to light that Gorkhaland found no mention in the manifesto. Making amends, the party issued a letter stating: “… the BJP reiterates that it will sympathetically examine and appropriately consider the long pending demands of the Gorkhas, the Adivasis and other people of Darjeeling district and the Dooars region; of the Kamtapuri, Rajbongshi and other people of North Bengal (including recognition of their language); and will take initiatives for a permanent solution of the long pending issues of the Bodos and other tribals of Assam, the people of Sikkim, Leh, Ladakh, Andaman & Nicobar, Lakshadweep and other such neglected regions.”

Monday’s manifesto did not specify the BJP’s stand on a separate Gorkhaland but said: “Regional aspirations: BJP has always stood for greater decentralisation through smaller States.”

In 2009, however, the party said: “…We will sympathetically examine and appropriately consider the long pending demands of the Gorkhas, the Adivasis and other people of Darjeeling district and Dooars region.”

Its candidate Jaswant Singh supported the Gorkhaland demand and won by a margin of 2,53,000 votes with the support of the Gorkha Janamukti Morcha, which is spearheading the movement for a separate State. Now also, the GJM has thrown its weight behind the BJP and is supporting the candidature of S.S. Ahluwalia from Darjeeling.

Click here for the full version (pdf) of BJP manifesto.

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